How To Prepare Your Home for Winter
As cold temperatures start to arrive, many homeowners know they need to complete their list of winter chores. Spending a few hours on basic maintenance projects is an excellent way to ensure that your home will make it through the winter season with as little damage as possible.
While some of these items may take more work than others, it is a good idea to get all of them done. If you can't do them yourself, consider calling a professional for help.
- Caulk gaps and cracks along the exterior. Caulking will help to seal air leaks from the interior of your home and prevent moisture from freezing in cracks and making them worse.
- Inspect and repair the roof. While anyone dealing with cold temperatures probably knows about the dangers of snow accumulation, it is important to ensure that the roof is in good condition before winter begins. Start by having the roof inspected by a professional if you haven't had it looked at in the past five years. This will identify small problems early. In particular, pay attention to areas around joints and flashing. Also, be sure the inspector pays attention to areas around HVAC systems. These areas are where moisture can seep in and cause much damage if the sealant has deteriorated.
- Clean out drains and gutters. This is probably everyone's least favorite chore, but it is important. Make sure that melting snow has a clear path off your roof and into the ground. You don't want moisture accumulating on the roof, where it can eventually seep in and damage your home's structure.
- Repair or install weather stripping. Check all the doors and windows to ensure that seals are in place and that there are no air leaks. This helps to reduce your building’s utility costs and prevents your home's heating system from burning out.
- Store outdoor furniture and grills. Outdoor furniture can become a hazard during a snowstorm.
- Remove or protect window box-style air conditioning units. Removing these units is the best way to protect them from snow accumulation and winter storm damage. At the very least, wrap these units in insulated sheeting or blankets. This will reduce drafts and energy bills and extend the unit's life.
- Get your chimney inspected and cleaned. If your home has a fireplace, you want to ensure it is clean and serviceable before your family starts lighting fires this winter. Fires that start from dust accumulated in the flue is one of the most common types of home accident, and they can have serious consequences for your home and your safety.
Getting these chores done means that you'll be saving yourself hours of labor and thousands of dollars on larger, more expensive home repairs. These relatively simple maintenance items can also help ensure that you won't claim your homeowner's insurance this year.